Subject: Feisty Milkweed
Location: Central Minnesota
June 29, 2016 5:24 pm
I live in central Minnesota (Upper Midwest) and I’m growing milkweed around my house (along with some other flowers and veggies of the like).
When trying to get a snap shot of a white/tan butterfly with grey borders, one of these little guys ran right up to my face and threw his hands about.
I’ve seen them somewhere, but I don’t remember what they’re called or if they’re beneficial to the milkweed? I was hoping to attract Monarchs and I’ve got my fingers crossed that they’ll happen someday.
There is an incredibly complex ecosystem associated with Milkweed and many insects, like the Monarch, feed solely on Milkweed. This Red Milkweed Beetle, Tetraopes tetrophthalmus, is an insect that feeds on Milkweed. According to BugGuide: “Eggs laid on stems near ground or just below surface; larvae bore into stems, overwinter in roots, and pupate in spring; adults emerge in early summer.” Of the genus, BugGuide notes: “Adults feed on leaves of milkweed (Asclepias); larvae feed externally on roots of host (root feeding is unique among Lamiinae).” We have a nice image on our site of a Red Milkweed Beetle feeding on Milkweed with a Monarch Caterpillar.